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11.21.2017

The Crooked Path ~ Review

The Crooked Path
By Irma Joubert

First off I have to say Irma Joubert has a way of writing that touches the soul of the reader. Her writing is alive with the nuances of life - its joys and it pains.

Once again we are taken into a world that is at war and how this affects and shapes the lives of those who are caught up in its destructive forces. In Italy the Romanelli family is about to have all that they have known changed when Hitler's Germany makes its presence known. Military service is a requirement and two of the Romanelli brothers are pressed into service. But the eldest brother Marco hides in the mountains with the family of the woman to whom he is engaged. The years take a toll on the Romanellis and Marco's years of deprivation at the hands of Germany have cost him much. When the dry warmth of South Africa is offered as an option to the restore his precarious health Marco goes joining his younger brother Antonio in this foreign land.

Lettie Louw has always felt that she is a lesser person than her friends. She's never been quite good enough and she's known that love was never meant for her. These feelings pushed her to excel in in her studies and become a doctor. Her skills have her assistance being sought in the care of Marco Romanelli. Marco's health slowly improves under Lettie's direction. But his health will never be fully restored and it is with this understanding that Marco and Lettie open their hearts to the possibility of just what the future holds. The path that has lead them to this point was crooked and the path before them seems equal to what lay behind them.

Life is journey with no guarantees and The Crooked Path fully explores this as life moves on even as heartbreak and joy make their marks on those around them. This is also a story about the value of friends and family in being there for us at the momentous and the ordinary.

This is truly a beautiful and moving story one that will bring tears as the inhumanity of war makes itself known and bring a soft smile at the power of love to heal wounds (and create new ones). Life comes in stages and presents different options that at a different time we may or may not respond in the same manner. This book brought to mind Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6, and 8:
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: ...  A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;... A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace." KJV

I was provided a complimentary review copy of this book by the publisher through BookLook Bloggers with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


About the Book:
From the bestselling author of The Girl From the Train, comes another compelling coming of age story of delayed love, loss, and reconciliation in WWII-era South Africa.
Lettie has always felt different from and overshadowed by the women around her– this friend is richer, that friend is more beautiful, those friends are closer. Still, she doesn’t let this hold her back. She works hard to apply her mind, trying to compensate for her perceived lack of beauty with diligent academic work and a successful career as a doctor. She learns to treasure her friendships, but she still wonders if any man will ever return her interest.
Marco’s experience in the second world war have robbed him of love and health. When winters in his native Italy prove dangerous to his health even after the war has ended, he moves to South Africa to be with his brother, husband to one of Lettie’s best friends. Marco is Lettie’s first patient, and their relationship grows as she aids him on the road back to restored health.
In the company of beloved characters from The Child of the River, Marco and Lettie find a happiness that neither of them thought possible. With that joy comes pain and loss, but Lettie learns that life—while perhaps a crooked path—is always a journey worth taking.

11.20.2017

365 Classic Bedtime Bible Stories ~ Review

365 Classic Bedtime
    Bible Stories
Inspired by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut's Story of the Bible
Illustrations by Alessia Girasole

Looking for a new Bible bedtime devotional for the upcoming year? One that you can share with your little reader? Well, this one might be what you are looking for. The stories start with Creation and continue through Revelation. Each page is one day and is a summarization of a Bible passage. The Bible passage from which each story is taken is referenced before the story is related.

The illustrations are throughout and should capture children's attention. My only complaint with the illustrations is the lack of skin pigmentations. This area of the world was a major trade route so there should have been more racial diversity.

There is an index at the back broken down into Old Testament and New Testament so that one can search for a person, place, or thing based on the Testament.

The book is hardcover with what appears to be a stitched binding. There is a red ribbon place marker attached to the spine so that one's place can be easily marked through the year. This book is aimed more towards younger children, I'm thinking 3 - 8 years of age. This is a time to share with your children so be sure to read the Bible references with your children to add more depth to the story.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Your children or grandchildren will delight in this fully-illustrated storybook that brings 365 read-aloud classic Bible stories to life for impressionable young hearts.

Beginning with the creation story, "God Creates the Earth," and ending with "In Eternity with God,” your children will develop faith in an almighty God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, while journeying alongside Bible characters like Samuel, Jonah, Esther, David, John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, and many more.

11.19.2017

Colors of Christmas ~ Review

Colors of Christmas
By Olivia Newport

Colors of Christmas is a two-in-one book. Two short stories with Christmas as the common theme. Christmas is supposed to be a happy time of the year but this year things are just not quite right.

First up is Christmas in Gold which finds Astrid moving out of her home and into an assisted community living facility. Christmas will be very different this year with all that she has been used to no longer an option. Christmas will no longer be the family gathering in her home. Rather it will be in her son's home.

But when the plans for Christmas are put in doubt Astrid makes plans with those she has come to know in her new home. And Astrid can tell that her therapist could use her friendship. And this year the greatest gift Astrid can give is friendship and hope.

Wondering why the title Christmas in Gold? This has to due to Astrid's memories of a cherished Christmas from her childhood one which was marked by special ornaments.

The second story is Christmas in Blue - Angela has lost her dearest friend and Christmas this year just won't be the same. And somehow the town's Christmas celebration has become her responsibility. But nothing seems to be going easy, in fact, it all keeps going wrong. With Christmas just days away help is nigh on impossible to find until an unexpected offer arrives. Soon what was going to be a blue Christmas becomes a Christmas celebration that will gladden any heart no matter what color Angela finds to create A Christmas to Remember.

These stories are both contemporary settings that end on an up note. These are stories that focus on the season and the importance of friendships in our lives.  If you are looking for short but delightful Christmas reading this is an option.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Christmas in Gold
When eighty-year-old Astrid moves into an assisted living community and meets a young woman on the brink of despair, she resolves to stir up Christmas hope one more time.


Christmas in Blue
Angela just wants Christmas to be over. Instead, she finds herself in charge of the town’s celebration, and everything goes from bad to worse. Can she rescue Christmas for the town—and herself?

11.18.2017

The Darkest Summer ~ Review with Giveaway and Free E-Book

The Darkest Summer
By Rebecca J. Greenwood

Lady Cora Winfield is expected to marry well and of a man on her mother's approved list of eligible suitors. Unfortunately, most who meet her mother's criteria aren't men who appeal to Cora. When the Duke of Blackdale, Adam Douglas first sees Cora he is drawn to her. But meeting Lady Cora is nigh on impossible with her pre-approved suitors and the constraints of proper society.

But Cora's delight in nature, even when dictates of society suggested other activities would be preferable, could not be doused. And this very passion provides the duke with a means of connecting with the lady who has made such an impression upon him. But can he win the heart of such a lady - one who

When his suit is rejected in a most cruel manner, the Duke of Blakedale determines to capture the lady of his heart. But will Cora agree to be his bride when her desires are not taken into consideration? And her mother is not about to allow her only child to be whisked away against her wishes.

With the weather against them and the certainty of pursuers, Lady Cora is about to go on a journey she never expected and one that will forever alter her. After all, can a lady's reputation remain unblemished when she is soon to become the talk of London society?

This is a summer that no one involved in this dash to Scotland and Gretna Green will ever forget...

This is a delightful story that will enamor fans of Regency fiction. Cora is a character with whom the reader will wish to form a friendship with. And the Duke of Blakedale is one who earns the reader's empathy as he deals with his past. And Cora's mother the Dowager Countess of Winfield, well, what can I say, other than she wants her only child to be very close once she is wed and a Scottish Duke is not to her liking at all.

Sit back with a cup of tea, a cookie or two and enjoy a Regency escape with The Darkest Summer!

I was proovided a review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


About The Darkest Summer:

In this riveting retelling of the classic myth of Hades and Persephone, Lady Cora Winfield is captivated when she first meets Adam Douglas, Duke of Blackdale. Despite their attraction, Cora’s mother refuses to allow the duke to marry her. Taking matters into his own hands, the duke abducts his chosen bride and Cora is swept into the adventure of her lifetime. Amidst danger and thrilling uncertainty, Cora must face the reality that she is falling in love with her captor.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Darkest Summer by Rebecca J.  Greenwood

The Darkest Summer

by Rebecca J. Greenwood

Giveaway ends November 27, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway
Added bonus prequel is FREE!
The Darkest Hour
A Darkest Season Novella
Rebecca J. Greenwood

Available for free on Instafreebie in exchange for signing up for the author’s mailing list.




About the Book:
When dutiful Lady Hester Douglas, over thirty and long on the shelf, receives word that her brother Adam, the Duke of Blackdale, has survived the Battle of Waterloo, she abandons propriety and heads to Brussels to be by his side. Her widowed minister, Mr. Alasdair Gilchrist, escorts her on the journey from Scotland into a Europe recovering from years of war.
Once she reaches her injured brother, Hester must fight to keep Adam alive and tightly guard her heart’s deepest secret—she’s been in love with Mr. Gilchrist for years.
Will the pain of being with the minister, the man she loves and can never have, distract her from her purpose? Or will she overcome the barriers of age, rank, and station, and seize the love she’s dreamt of?
The Darkest Hour is a standalone inspirational Regency romance novella and a prequel to The Darkest Summer.

Author bio:

Rebecca J. Greenwood is an author, artist, and designer with a love of stories, especially Regency romances. She grew up in Texas as the oldest of six and studied visual art with a music minor at Brigham Young University. Rebecca lives in Utah with her husband, where she listens to audiobooks, cooks experimentally, has an interest in alternative health, and constantly has a new project in mind. Visit rebeccajgreenwood.com to experience more of her art, writing, and upcoming projects.


Author’s links:



11.15.2017

Deeds of Darkness ~ Review

Deeds of Darkness
The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon #10
By Mel Starr

When Bampton's haberdasher and coroner, Hubert Shillside goes missing Hugh is called upon by the man's son. Will Shillside is concerned that his father is late returning from a purchasing expedition in Oxford. But clues are few and no evidence can be found of foul play other than Hubert's unexplained disappearance. But a stop at Osney Abbey reveals that others have fallen prey to the same apparent fate as Hubert.

Putting his skills to use Hugh is hard-pressed to find the victims he seeks. But as the days pass crime seemingly has moved into the area. Homes are robbed. People attacked. And an unidentified victim has been found. The road to Oxford is no longer safe to travel day or night. And unless the guilty party makes a mistake Hugh may be unable to bring justice to those in sore need of its administration.

Deeds of Darkness is a truly captivating mystery. And just when one thinks "Ah, he has discovered his villain" something occurs to throw this thought into doubt. This is one tangle that will take all of Hugh's skills to unravel.

If your cup of reading runs to historical mysteries, you simply have to give Hugh de Singleton a try. The story is set in the late 14th Century outside of Oxford. And for those who like to have historical figures in their historical fiction will enjoy scenes with Hugh's former professor of philosophy - Master John Wycliffe.

This is the tenth book in this series, but if you have not before read any books in this series that should not be a problem as the book can be read-alone and easily understood. There is a glossary of terms at the front of the book that you'll definitely make use of.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

About the Book:
To bring justice, 
Master Hugh must foil the corrupt power of great men

Many medieval scholars discontinued their university studies before completing their degree. Some lacked funds; others became bored with a scholar's life. Occasionally these young men formed lawless bands, robbing and raping and creating chaos. They were called goliards.

In Deeds of Darkness, Master Hugh learns that the Bampton coroner, an old friend, has been slain while traveling to Oxford. As he seeks the killer (or killers) he discovers a band of goliards in the area between Oxford and Bampton. But how to apprehend these youths? They have protectors far above Hugh's station. He must deal with the claims of justice on the one hand and the power of great men to protect their henchmen on the other.

The Man Who Invented Christmas ~ Giveaway

Can you imagine Christmas without carols, giving, 
and the phrase “Bah Humbug?”  

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS tells the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and other classic characters from “A Christmas Carol.”  

This special holiday film is sure to become another Christmas classic!



In celebration of this new movie, a 3-movie DVD giveaway is taking place. Yes, that's right 3 movies! But to find out more please read through the rest of this post and enter below to join in on this early Christmas fun.



First off a little about the movie:


The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. Directed by Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), the film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real-life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.


THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS releases in theaters on 
November 22, 2017.

That's right the movie opens the day before Thanksgiving 
Have plans for the holiday weekend yet?



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Now when it comes to your own Christmas traditions what do you most look forward to?  Is there a favorite movie that you just have to see and enjoy with those closest to you?  For my family, there are a couple of movies we look forward to. One Magic Christmas allows a woman to see just how blessed she truly is when she thinks that she has lost everything (husband, children, home, and job). The other movie that we enjoy is The Christmas Carol, the one starring Patrick Stewart. The acting is superb and Ebenezer's transformation is truly a thing to behold from young hurting child to miser to reformed uncle. 

Unlike Scrooge, we in my household don't hold with the idea of not helping those in need and over the years have helped others through local giving to the food bank, clothing drives, and toy drives. But one of our greatest pleasures, as well as heartbreaks, has been ChildFund International. Watching these children grow and mature through years of correspondence can touch even the Scroogiest heart. And Christmas offers a chance to give them an additional gift. It is amazing how so little here can go further in another country offering the hope of an additional source of income for years to come. This was an organization that my mother supported before she and my father married and to this day my family continues to support several through it. If you are willing to stretch your heart check out this worthwhile organization. www.ChildFund.org 


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Now to the giveaway and all the fun of entering.

First off you are probably wondering what is being given away ~ Admit it even if you don't want to enter the giveaway you are curious. I know I would be. 


The DVD bundle is 
The Sound of Music (starring Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews)
Beauty and the Beast (live-action starring Dan Stevens)
and
A Christmas Carol (starring George C. Scott)

Please enter for a chance to win
Open to residents with a US postal mailing address only 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

11.13.2017

Purple Turtle Graded Readers Level 2 ~ Review with Giveaway and Trailer

Purple Turtle Graded Readers
Level 2
By Vanessa Black


Looking to help your child with their early literacy skills? Well, this delightful boxed book set is the perfect option. The box measures 14-3/4" wide x 9-1/2" tall x 1-3/8" deep.

The individual books measure 7" x 4-3/4" and in the box, the books are 3 across and 4 deep. The books are hardcover with a stitched binding. The books are just under 30 pages each. Each book has a story and is followed by several pages of activities that correspond to the story.

The books in the Level 2 collection include the following titles.

Too Many Clothes when Zing's closet won't close because of too many clothes Purple helps him out by sorting out what is used and what is not. Four fun pages of clothes activities follow.

Purple Goes on Holiday which is a week's worth of fun activity with Mama, Papa, and Purple trying out new things. Six fun-filled activity pages follow this adventuresome week!

Purple Visits the Zoo has Purple visiting the zoo with Mama where they discover a baby monkey is missing. They search for the baby monkey as they explore the zoo. Fun animal activities follow this story.

Biggy Breaks an Arm when Biggy breaks his arm while playing he is sad to learn that he won't be able to swim while he has a cast on his arm. Purple and the gang decide to cheer him up by helping discover that he can have fun even with a broken arm. Six fun activity pages that Biggy could enjoy follow the story.

At the Aquarium has the friends visiting the local aquarium and seeing new fish and sea creatures. There are fun counting and number activities.

The Art Banner Purple and Roxy create a banner for the new art center. But it takes a lot of work to get it just right.  Two fun pages of art-themed activities follow this story

Roxy Plays by the Rules When Roxy's cheating gets too much the gang decides to teach him a lesson about playing by the rules. Four pages of activities follow this story.

Ride to the City Purple and Roxy decide the go to a car show and getting to and from the city is an adventure all its own. Four fun activities add to this stories delights.

Who am I? Purple and the gang are stuck indoors because of the weather. When they come up with a new game they have to guess what they each are pretending to be. This book has six pages of various activities. Want to give this game a try yourself?

Roxy Gets Angry Roxy is making a gift for Purple but when Biggy accidentally breaks it Roxy gets angry. This book explores feelings and a couple activities that deal with feelings.

Wish Upon a Star finds Purple and Zing stargazing when they wish upon a shooting star. Purple's wish comes true and they find themselves on a rocket in space. Four fun space-themed activity pages follow this story.

Purple Goes to School Purple's first day of school has arrived and Purple isn't ready to go. But Papa and Mama were right - school is fun. Three school themed activity pages finish this book.

These stories and fun for young readers. Please be aware that there are a few words that use British English spellings instead of American English. (Examples include tyre instead of tire and colour instead of color). There are colorful images on each page that help with story comprehension. These would be a lovely gift for children or grandchildren who are in the beginning stages of reading - think Kindergarten or First Grade depending on the individual child.

I was provided a complimentary review copy of this boxed set with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Boxed Book Set Details:

Book Title: Purple Turtle Graded Readers Level 2 (12 Titles)
Category: Children's Fiction,
Genre: Educational
Publisher: Aadarsh Pvt. Ltd.
Release date: April 1, 2017
Tour dates: Oct 30 to Nov 24, 2017
Content Rating: G (informative content intended for and available to children and their parents/educators to enhance and support learning. Suitable for: Family audiences with younger children.)

Boxed Book Set Description:

Welcome to a world of fun-filled learning with Purple Turtle. Purple Turtle Graded Readers by A1 Edutainment is an amazing new reading program that is ideal for emerging readers. The second level includes a set of 12 books with 12 interesting stories and several engaging activities that is likely to make learning an enjoyable experience. The book has a word count of 150-250 and is based on the ATOS and Lexile reading level system. This level is for readers who have just learned to read.

To read more reviews, please visit Purple Turtle's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Boxed Set: 


Watch one of the book trailers:



Meet the Publisher:


Purple Turtle is India’s 1st International brand with its educational content in several languages sold in more than 30 countries including Russia, China, US and UK. The character of Purple Turtle has delighted children across the globe through beautifully created Purple Turtle books, rhymes, and videos available on YouTube.

Purple Turtle was created with the idea to spread education through a wide range of innovative books for children. To give them the experience of convenient online learning, Purple Turtle also brings both learning and entertainment on a common platform to give a wholesome learning experience to young minds.

Connect with the publisher: Website ~ TwitterFacebook


Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Dec 2

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